Cox, Landmark divide the assets of joint venture (1 Viewer)


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Apr 18, 2005
DeKalb County, AL
AJC parent to keep properties linked to autos

Cox Enterprises and Landmark Communications are divvying up the assets of Trader Publishing, a partnership of the two companies that specializes in classified ad publications and Web sites.

Atlanta-based Cox, which owns The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and a number of other properties, will retain Trader's auto-related publications, including Auto Trader. Cox will control Web sites that serve as companions to the print publications and, in addition, will get Landmark's 26 percent stake in, raising Cox's stake to nearly 88 percent., Cox said, is the largest online auto classifieds site.

Landmark Communications, which last year decided it wanted to reduce its ties to the classified business, will keep Trader's non-auto publications and Web sites. Those include For Rent Magazine, Cycle Trader and many others. Landmark, which is based in Norfolk, Va., holds several media properties, including the Weather Channel, based in Atlanta.

Cox and Landmark will continue to have a relationship through a jointly held firm that will run Trader's printing plants.

Cox, which already has been operating the Web site, will pair that business with the former Trader Publishing assets in a new unit called Cox Auto Trader. The president is Sandy Schwartz, who has been with Cox for many years and is, among other things, a former general manager of the AJC.

Despite industrywide concerns about a falloff in print advertising, Schwartz said Trader's auto-related operations are attractive and should be a good fit with Cox's other properties.

"Specialty publications still have a lot of life in them," Schwartz said. "This is not a dying business."

Cox plans to keep current Trader employees in Norfolk and has no plans for job cuts. The new Cox Auto Trader operation will have about 5,700 employees, Schwartz said, up from approximately 1,200.

Bob Jimenez, a spokesman for Cox Enterprises, said the annual revenue of the new unit is about $800 million.

Cox, a privately held company, has its roots in newspapers, but it also has a sizable presence in the automotive business, including Manheim, which specializes in auto auctions. Cox previously has disclosed that Manheim is the second-largest unit, after cable operation Cox Communications.

Trader has been in the process of building a large new structure in Norfolk. Schwartz said that property will be owned by Landmark.

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